This story is part of and contains tips for optimizing the holiday season.
You have received an invitation to a Christmas party. What is etiquette as a guest? In addition to arriving on time (or within an acceptable window of time, if you know how they're going), there is another factor that resonates when you ring: the gift of the host.
Please do not arrive empty handed. Your hosts spent a lot of time and effort planning this party and probably a lot of money. And let us avoid creating more stress than joy with your gift.
An Expert Weighs
As a professional dinner party planner, cook, visual artist, and social media and marketing consultant based in New York, Stephanie Nass is often on both sides of the dinner party scene.
In 2014, Wet founded the Victory Club, a bi-monthly dinner club where each member brings a friend to meet in galleries, museums and other art collections. Her art-inspired dinners spilled around the world and featured in Food & Wine and Town & Country magazines. With the nickname "Chefanie," Nass also designs vegan, gluten-free, shelf-stable cake plates called Chefanie Sheets, and gives important brands from Vogue through Tory Burch tips she can entertain.
Wet talked to her about CNET sister site Chowhound The best tips for giving away holidaymakers and hostesses – and a few words of caution on the biggest imitations.
If you put too much value on the gift, you should first consider the basics: wine, sweets, flowers or candles.
It's really about the gesture. "The only thing that is common with gifts at [parties] is that you bring one," says Nass, butis reliable because [holiday flavors are] is so predictable that it's easy to make a wine Combine with one of the classic dishes. "(When you go to a cocktail party, champagne is always a sure thing.)
A good listener is the key to a good gift giver, says Nass.
"Listen to what the host wants. Maybe it's something practical, maybe something superfluous," she says. Then you can personalize your gift by adding a personal touch or customization. This could be as simple as tying a pretty ribbon with a festive ball to the neck of the wine bottle or wrapping the candle in nice paper for a dramatic effect.
As a host, Nass appreciates a thoughtful card with or without a present.
"I appreciate the letters people have written to me," she says. "The notes stop after the flowers have withered, the wine is drunk and only a few crumbs from the cake are left."
If you lack the dough, there is hope – making something homemade is always the cheap gift.
Wet brings a dessert, usually one of her Chefanie Sheets cakes, and sometimes she adapts to the occasion to make it more personal. Try Chowhound's light embrittlement.
Try to avoid these mistakes of dinner guests.
It's true that no one should put a gift horse (in this case, you) in your mouth, but try to avoid making your contribution unsafe by following these tips.  Do not put the host and his hard work on the stage.
Do not bring dinner or any part of it, unless the host specifically asks you, says Nass. (However, you also know your friends and family well enough to know when you can make an exception to this rule, in which case you should look at some great last minute party snacks you can take with you are not sure How they feel is important.)
Do not bring anything you want, not the host.
Obviously, but that's worth mentioning. If you only need to buy these adorable sticky pot holders, keep them for someone you know he wants them or keep them for yourself.
Do not bring uncircumcised flowers.
The host will be busy enough with other things, so if you bring flowers, arrange them in a vase.
Do not bring any extra guest with you without asking.
The host has thought about the table setting and thought and another guest throws a wrench into the event.
Gift Ideas for Hosts and Vacationers
Still need help? Here are some more special gift ideas for hosts:
Pumpkin spice pecan sprinkles muffins
Chowhound  The next morning's meal could be the last thing your host thinks. Therefore, this would be very welcome. Bring store-ready muffins or bagels (with a small packet of cream cheese) to avoid even more crowds in the fridge, home-made cinnamon rolls (also acceptable if sourced from a large local bakery) or hearty pumpkin bread.
For a homemade, holiday-inspired breakfast, try Chowhound's Recipe for Pecan Crumble Muffins with Pumpkin Spice (pictured above) and bonus points if you bring them in a festive baking box. Then the host does not have to worry about returning a muffin dish or a plate.
Ask what kind of wine your host wants, and if he knows, bring it already Chilled with – This will give you a beautiful Uashmama wine cooler ($ 26 to $ 34), which is a great bonus gift. Try a Riesling or Gewürztraminer for whites and a Pinot Noir or a light, refreshing Beaujolais for red.
Then there is always good whiskey or bourbon or a digestif for dinner. You can also bring a nice tea or coffee that your hosts can pick up for later if they wish.
Beautiful flowers are always a safe bet. But cut them up and put them into a vase that you also give away (see above ) so that the hosts do not have to stop what they are doing and look for a vase and prepare the flowers, too everything else. You could use a mason jar if you (and she) like that homemade, shabby-chic atmosphere. You could even give them a flower subscription via Bloomsy Box.
Also, consider a houseplant that will keep your hosts happy for more than a few days – this set of four ceramic animal planters (US $ 27) will be delivered in faux succulents, but you could plant them with the original or use some easy-care aerial plants.
If you bring a bunch of flowers, do not expect your flowers to be at the heart of the table. This detail was probably already planned.
Give the hosts something to enjoy later, when it's quiet and they love it it does not have to share it. It can be a homemade jar of pickled vegetables, apple butter, jam or chutney, or a high-end, store-bought version of those items (like the 10-dollar red wine-flavored, caramelized onion jam above). Or give away a decorative tin of boutique tea with a sweet infusion or the classic box of chocolates – even gourmet olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
If you're not sure which food you prefer, there are many other thoughtful little things to bring along: a fancy hand soap, a pretty new coaster, or even a cookbook you may like. Everything that is handmade or high quality gives a thoughtful touch, whether it is edible or not.
Parents will really appreciate this model. Bring a crafting activity, a game, a coloring book and crayons, or a toy that could keep the kids busy. This is a welcome respite for the adults when the little ones get restless and bored. This cabin style Lego set for $ 25 is a fun idea that will not break the bank.
Or amuse the adults and bring along a party game. An after-dinner card game or adult board game can provide exactly the break people need before they are ready to tackle the dessert. For foodies, try this Foodie Fight Quiz (US $ 21), which is fun for both adults and kids.
You can always ask the hosts specifically what you can bring, what would help the most, and Luckily they could tell you – maybe a good cheese with crackers or a simple side dish or a dessert. Maybe it is a bit boring, but very important, such as extra garbage bags, paper towels or ice cream!
And if it's a potluck, do not forget to bring your own serving utensils, as the hosts are likely to use them all. The four-piece cutlery set in matt metallic gold is perfect for parties and costs $ 40. Be an even better guest and leave it to your hosts (unless you think they need to find space for something else).